I had a realization this week and I’ve been trying to write about it for a while…but it’s been hard to put into words (even for me). Here it goes…
I’m floundering a bit right now. My food is in check, but I still struggle with exercise. Why? Honestly?? Because I don’t want to. I’m not motivated. I think about it all the time, but I can’t make myself do it. I’m stuck.
I realized the other day that my drive started fizzling around the 6 month mark. Originally, I blamed stress from the big re-org at work. Not knowing if I was going to keep my job and being forced to deal with that stress without binge eating was extremely difficult. Well, the re-org has come and gone (at least the part that directly concerned me)…and I’m still floundering. I’m at the 8 month mark now…and I’m still not moving forward…but 6 months is where it started to fall apart.
6 months. I’m starting to connect some dots…
I’ve shared this before in the “My Story” section, but my Dad was an alcoholic. My Dad got sober twice in his life: once when I was 12…and once when I was in my 20’s. Both times, he was sober for 6 months before he started having trouble again. In the end, he was never able to tame the demons that made him drink…and he passed at the young age of 67.
6 months was all he could muster.
Skip ahead a little bit. In the 90’s, I had a doctor who misdiagnosed me with a medical condition I didn’t have. She told me I would not be able to lose weight at a normal rate unless I made some serious changes. She told me that I had to restrict myself to 750 calories a day.
Yep…you read that right: 750 calories a day.
I joined a gym and started eating 750 calories a day. I lost 75 pounds in just 4 months. When I look back at that time in my life, I could just slap the crap out of that doctor. What a quack.
I hit a wall. My body started to rebel against my extreme diet. I was up to an hour of aerobics a day. I added treadmill time to that, but it didn’t do any good. The scale would not move. I couldn’t remove any calories from my diet because I was already eating so little. So I continued to starve myself on my doctor’s advice…and kept trying to increase my exercise in order to lose weight. Nothing was working.
After 2 more months of struggling, I gave up. I started skipping the gym. I started indulging in my old favorite foods. That whole scenario was 6 months.
Two years ago, I began a healthy eating/fitness challenge with a buddy. We decided to commit to 6 months because we had a wedding to attend. Although I was successful at losing 50 pounds during those 6 months, I wasn’t really connecting with what worked for me. My focus was more on making my buddy happy and getting approval than it was on what was really going to work for me. I needed lasting change and I was only focused on getting approval.
The deal was to celebrate with a piece of wedding cake and get right back to it. By the end of the night, I’d had 2 pieces of wedding cake. On the road trip home, I indulged in all kinds of truck stop delights like moon pies…candy bars…chips. I used the excuse that I had cramps and “needed” sugar. I was already well out of control by the time we got back home. Over the next year, I gained the 50 pounds back.
6 months seems to be an issue for me, doesn’t it? It certainly was for Dad…and I am my father’s daughter through and through.
Unlike any of my past attempts to eat healthy, the last 8 months have changed me. I’ve learned lessons that I can’t unlearn – and don’t want to. I’ve finally connected with the fact that quitting is the dumbest thing I could possibly do. I may slow down, I may stumble, I may have set backs…but to completely give up and start mowing moon pies and twizzlers…no, that’s never going to happen again. I’m solid on that front.
I remember feeling utterly ashamed of myself after losing control the last time. Someone I love dearly, thinking they were helping me, unleashed their feelings about my failure to get right back to my healthy living routine. It hurt me in a way I’m sure they did not intend. I no longer felt like I could continue updating the people I’m closest to about my situation (Hot Mess Hubby excluded, of course). Even now, it hurts to think back on the words that were said to me – but I believe it also helped me. It was the catalyst that made me realize following other people’s routines and programs wasn’t going to work for me. I realized that I needed to find my own way and connect to each and every change in a very deep, personal way if I was going to really make this work. If that meant taking longer than some people thought I should, well…that’s just tough shit for them isn’t it?. At the end of the day, the only person who has to live with my decisions is me. The only agenda I have to follow is my own.
Now here I am. I lost 45 pounds in the first 6 months of this process and I know it’s for real this time. I am not tempted by moon pies and twizzlers, Little Debbie snack cakes, or pizza delivery every night of the week. I have found a routine that works for me…but there’s only so far I can go on dietary changes alone. It’s been time to add consistent exercise for a while now, yet I stand here…stuck in the road…knowing what I should do, yet unable or unwilling to do it.
While I still stand firm on not forcing myself into something that I’m not ready to do, I have to acknowledge some things. When it comes to exercise, my head may be willing but my heart is not…and it may never be. I think I’ve been patient long enough. I feel like I’m reaching “critical dumb ass mode”. At what point do I start kicking myself in the ass and forcing myself to move forward? The line between positive, natural change and just sitting in the middle of the road while the world passes me by is a little fuzzy.
It’s time to force a little change. I’m giving myself a little push. The 7 Dwarfs of the Menstrual Apocalypse are gone. Perfect timing. Just a little push. Or, if needed, a frigg’in shove with a sharp stick. I’m officially more tired of not moving forward than I am afraid of forcing myself to do too much too soon.
I got up this morning ready to kick a little excess ass. Since I have so much added weight on my body and I have been sedentary for so long, my goal this week is 15 – 20 minutes of cardio per day with a rest day on Sunday. The goal is to start a habit, not to train for a marathon or hit the treadmill belt with an overdose of drama ala The Biggest Loser. You won’t find me bench pressing my weight in Little Debbie Nutty Bars while the soundtrack from Rocky spurs me on to weight loss greatness. I’m going to make these changes as normal and natural as I possibly can!
This morning I plan to ice up my water bottles and kick the Monday blues right in the ass. I may not be so excited about exercising, but I’m excited about getting myself through this damn brick wall.
Come hell or high water, I’m coming on THROUGH.